By today’s standards, the ritual was almost laughable. A lawyer would pick up a phone, dial a number, listen for a high-pitched squeal, and then quickly place the receiver in a cradle.

This was the “handshake” that eased the legal profession into the world of computerized legal research. It was a small world, back then: New York and Ohio codes and cases, the federal code, and a federal tax library. There were no federal cases, news articles, public records, patents, trademarks, or corporate filings yet to search on-line.

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